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2022-23 Virtual Speaker Series Palestine: Land, Life, Dignity

The series will host Palestinian speakers across the 2022-23 academic year whose work engage central questions relating to land, life, and dignity within anti-colonial struggles. Their critical interventions bring to the forefront the living textures of colonial existence. They underscore the centrality of innovation and collaborative visions in working against colonial erasures and in helping to forge emancipatory futures.

The Series is offered as a collaboration between American University’s Arab World Studies and Georgetown University’s Center for Contemporary Arab Studies and is also part of inaugural courses on Palestine offered by the Series organizers Professor Irene Calis (AU) and Professor Rochelle Davis (GU).

Schedule of Events

All events are at 6-8:30 p.m. EST.

Nour Joudah: Mapping Decolonized Futures
September 27, 2022

Watch the 9/27 video

In this talk, Dr. Nour Joudah provided a glimpse of how mapping initiatives for Palestine and Hawai'i defy settler temporalities and work to actively build emancipatory futures. From archiving to designing reconstruction of destroyed villages, these countermapping projects do more than straddle objectives of historic preservation and imagining futures. They activate the past as a move toward liberated futures and exemplify how mapping can serve as an imaginative, generative practice.

About Nour Joudah

Nour JouddahNour Joudah is a Presidential Postdoctoral Fellow in Geography at the University of California-Berkeley. Her work examines mapping practices and indigenous survival and futures in settler states, highlighting how indigenous countermapping is a both cartographic and decolonial praxis. Nour completed her PhD at UCLA and her dissertation Mapping Decolonized Futures: Indigenous Visions for Hawaii and Palestine is a study which focuses on efforts by Palestinian and native Hawaiian communities to imagine and work toward liberated futures that center indigenous duration as a non-linear temporality. Dr. Joudah also has a MA in Arab Studies from Georgetown University, and wrote her MA thesis on the role and perception of exile politics within the liberation struggle, in particular among politically active Palestinian youth living in the United States and Occupied Palestine.

Ghadeer Malek: I Exist

November 1, 2022

Watch the 11/1 video

In this event, Ghadeer Malek performs her poetry and converses with the Series organizers about her seminal compilation with Ghaida Moussa, Min Fami: Arab feminist reflections on space, identity, and resistance.

About Ghadeer Malek

Ghadeer MalekGhadeer Malek is a Palestinian writer and spoken word poet living in T’Karonto, Canada. She writes on belonging, occupation, displacement and living in the diaspora using creative performance and magical realism. She is co-editor of Min Fami: Arab feminist reflections on space, identity, and resistance published in 2015 by Inanna Publications. She is currently working on a spoken word collection called Poetical Thawra, and a short story collection called Thawra; with support from Canada Council for the Arts, Ontario Arts Council and Toronto Arts Council.

Nadera Shalhoub-Kevorkian: Occupation of the Senses

January 30, 2023


About Nadera Shalhoub-Kevorkian

Nadera Shalhoub-KevorkianProf. Nadera Shalhoub-Kevorkian, a Palestinian feminist, is the Lawrence D. Biele Chair in Law at the Faculty of Law-Institute of Criminology and the School of Social Work and Public Welfare at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and the Global Chair in Law- Queen Mary University of London. Her research focuses on liberation psychosocial intervention, critical trauma studies, state crimes and criminology, securitized surveillance, gender violence, law and society and genocide studies. She is the author of numerous academic articles and books among them “Militarization and Violence Against Women in Conflict Zones in the Middle East: The Palestinian Case Study” published in 2010; “Security Theology, Surveillance and the Politics of Fear”, published in 2015; “Incarcerated Childhood and the Politics of Unchilding”, published in 2019; all by Cambridge University Press. She also co-edited two books, the latest entitled: “When Politics are Sacralized: Comparative Perspectives on Religious Claims and Nationalism”, CUP 2021, and is completing an edited volume with Lila Abu-Lughod and Rema Hammami entitled: The Cunning of Gender Based Violence”, to be published with Duke University Press in 2023.

Vivien Sansour: Something Else is Possible

February 27, 2023

Often times when Palestinian farmers put seed in the ground, they mutter a quiet prayer, “may we eat and may we feed others”. This and many other linguistically profound sayings provide a lens into a cultural design that had been well based in the idea that our survival as individuals is connected to the well being and survival of our community. In this lecture, Vivien Sansour, takes us through a journey of people, and seeds that weaves stories that help us navigate a world that is in a state of hospice. How imagination and science made it possible for humans to develop bread from a wild grass, and how this relationship of co-creation between humans and other beings can inform our future, are urgent contemplations. From the death of species to the movements of people, Vivien invites us to engage in new modes of design that are based on the kinship of plants and the inspirations drawn from old stories in order to be what she calls “better designers”. In this lecture Vivien will share images and processes of development for two of her most recent art works, “The Belly is a Garden” which was commissioned by the Fisher Center for Performance Arts in New York Bard College, and “Something Else is Possible” an art book and installation exhibited as part of the Fotoindustria Biennale in Bologna, Italy 2021.

About Vivien Sansour

Vivien SansourVivien Sansour is an artist, researcher, and writer. Vivien uses installations, images, sketches, film, soil, seeds, and plants to enliven old cultural tales in contemporary presentations and to advocate for seed conservation and the protection of agrobiodiversity as a cultural/political act. Vivien founded the Palestine Heirloom Seed Library as part of this work with local farmers and has been showcased internationally, including at the Chicago Architecture Biennale, Victoria and Albert Museum in London, Dutch Design Week in Eindhoven, Berlinale, Istanbul Biennale, Fotoindustria, and the Venice Art Biennale.

An enthusiastic cook, Vivien works to bring threatened varieties “back to the dinner table to become part of our living culture rather than a relic of the past.” This work has led her to collaborate with award-winning chefs, including Anthony Bourdain and Sammi Tamimi.

A former Harvard University Fellow, Vivien is currently teaching at Bard College in the Experimental Humanities department where she is developing a course on human and nature design in the Hudson Valley entitled, “The Belly is A Garden”- El Batin Bustan 2022-2023.

Series Organizers

  • Irene Calis
    Director of Arab World Studies
    American University
  • Rochelle Davis
    Sultanate of Oman Associate Professor of Cultural Anthropology
    Georgetown University